Alert

HIV and Exercise

Topic Overview

Exercise can't control the HIV infection. But exercise may help you feel better by reducing stress. Exercise may also help your immune system work better.

Exercise:

  • Is safe.
  • Improves strength and endurance.
  • Improves heart and lung fitness.
  • May help you feel less tired or fatigued.
  • Enhances your sense of well-being.
  • May help stabilize or prevent declines in CD4+ cell counts.

Start exercising while you are healthy, and do your best to find new ways to keep yourself motivated to maintain your exercise program.

The ability of a person who has HIV to improve his or her fitness through training is similar to that of a person who does not have HIV. But people with HIV may find it harder to continue with a training program because of fatigue or muscle wasting.

Participation in competitive sports does not pose a risk of spreading HIV to other athletes or coaches. In sports in which exposure to blood can occur, the risk of spreading HIV is very small. But if a person (HIV-infected or not) does start to bleed, he or she should be taken out of the game and the wounds should be covered before the person returns to the game.

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Peter Shalit MD, PhD - Internal Medicine

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